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Hey, I just met you
And this is crazy
But here's my stuff
So buy it maybe?
In the world of online marketing and eCommerce, it seems like we're always selling (and being sold to!)
And let's be honest – most of us don't enjoy being sold to most of the time. Especially when that selling comes as an interruption to what we actually set out to do.
That's why as an online business owner, developing your brand recognition and reputation is almost as important than what you're selling.
By sharing a clear mission, purpose, and value behind why your brand or company exists, you can build stronger, long-term connections with your visitors and prospective customers.
In the words of leadership guru Simon Sinek:
“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.”
What consumers want in their companies in today’s competitive market is a brand that they are willing to stake their own purchasing reputation on. A company that not only sells a great product but genuinely seeks to make the world a better place with their service. This is why you see so many brands coming forward with statements on current events and global movements. When a customer recognizes that a company is leaving a legacy beyond their product, it’s even more appealing to support them with a purchase.
Think of the faithful mom-and-pop shop down on Main Street. The story is never about what they sell on their shelves. Instead, it’s the way that they have continued to meet the needs of their beloved community with a smile.
So as a business owner or entrepreneur, how can you begin to take advantage of this powerful narrative-building for your own company? Welcome to the world of know-like-trust – a marketing process that ensures that customers become intimately acquainted with you and your company in ways that ensure that they move from interest to loyal, returning customer.
Let’s talk about how you can implement this strategy in your own marketing to boost your brand reputation, recognition, and revenue potential.
Getting To Know You
Know Like Trust begins when you invest in helping your customers get to know who you are. This means you need to provide highly-engaging content from your brand that not only promotes products or services but tells the story of the purpose and inspiration behind why you exist.
The Know step begins with increasing your visibility. When you sell online, you’ll need to invest in a robust digital marketing strategy that shares the who, what, when, where, and why of your business. You won’t have the benefit of Help your customers know who you are and why you exist. In the uber-competitive online marketplace, the knowledge step is vital to building strong customer relationships.
Do You Like Me?
The second step in the process is to build a likeability factor with your potential audience. Sure, your customers know a lot about who you are and why you exist, but do they actually like you? Few individuals will take the step to trusting you and investing in you unless they actually like who you are.
Likeability can be built quickly through explaining and living out your brand’s values, mission, and beliefs. Making your values clear – and following up with action that reinforces them – is a guaranteed way to help consumers know that you are in the business for the bigger picture, not just their pocketbook.
Another way to become more likable is to become more personal. I’m not one to advocate for airing your dirty laundry, but sharing little unique insights (like how you take your coffee or your favorite pen for brainstorming notes) can take you beyond just another brand to being a real person. (And yes, even big brands can be more personal!)
The Trust Factor
Once a potential customer knows and likes you as a company, it’s time to lock in the process by building trust. Are you genuine in who you claim to be? Do your products stand up to the same scrutiny? Do your customer services skills and follow up measures show that you genuinely care about your customers after a sale is made?
When people trust that what you say matches what you do, they are more likely to put their money where their mouth is. Don’t merely build knowledge and likeability with your brand. Seek ways to creatively increase the trust factor with your customers to truly seal the deal.
Here are some ways to build trust:
- Share testimonials from successful customers and clients.
- Encourage user-generated content (UGC) with real people using your products.
- Engage on social media publicly, answering questions
- Provide sneak peeks and “behind the scenes” content that builds confidence in what the customer will be buying.
The Result? Lifelong Customers (and More)
When you invest the time and resources to implement a know like trust strategy with your business, the result is almost guaranteed: lifelong customers that will continue to purchase from your brand for years to come. Since the consumer is buying from you because they believe in you rather than what you sell, they’ll stick with you through thick and thin.
Your transparent and approachable brand can also help you win over potential partners, joint ventures, and even employees.
Once you've won someone over, it doesn't mean that it will be smooth sailing forever. Too many companies reach the coveted trust stage and click cruise control – only to discover that missteps and lack of transparency can lead to a loss in customer loyalty.
Whether you sell online or off, your relationship with your customers is just like a face-to-face friendship. The more you invest in ensuring that your customers know, like, and trust you, the more you will build an unbreakable foundation that keeps customers coming back again and again.
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